Trail legislation.....Revised

The Pine Mountain Trail Conference wishes to thank Kentucky Senator Ray Jones for his recent consultations aimed at jointly arriving at legislation that could be supported by the Pine Mountain Trail Conference and those advocating for increased locations for ATV use. In its revised form, SB 102 calls for a feasibility study of ATV recreational vehicles on the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail and the Kentucky sections of the Breaks Interstate Park. This study, to be conducted by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, would be completed and the results available to the LRC by December, 2016. This will provide both parties with the additional time needed to quantify and present their best reasoned arguments both for and against ATV use on the Trail and on Breaks Park properties.We look forward to using this opportunity to rally support for continuing to use the Pine Mountain Trail solely as a hiking trail.

It is important to note that ATV use in a controlled, safe manner that is non-destructive to the natural environment is supported by the Pine Mountain Trail Conference.  And, the Conference will aid Senator Jones efforts to gain legal, commercial venues for their use.

Those advocating for the Trail have In recent correspondence with Senator Jones received a better understanding of his position and the need for legislation. 
  

email correspondence

Subject: Legislation SB 102

Message: Senator Jones,
I am writing you to voice my opposition to ATV/Motor Vehicle use on the Pine Mountain Trail. I frequent the trail often, which offers a unique landscape and a diverse eco-system that offers hikers a wonderful experience in Eastern Kentucky. Unfortunately, the first few miles of the trail are riddled with beer cans and trash that have been thrown out by ATV riders which takes away from the trail's awesome landscape. Another concern is that the ATVs cause extensive damage to the trail. Some places are near impassable on foot due to the constant rutting out of the trail, creating muddy bogs and eroding the foot path. 
I understand that ATV riding could possibly be a great source of tourism income for Eastern Kentucky, much like it has in southern West Virginia. Eastern Kentucky offers numerous other sites that would be better suited for ATVing. Numerous reclaimed mine sites have existing roads and and many miles of them. These sites offer amazing scenery as well and also provide many more miles of trails for ATV riders.
No other state or national park systems that I am aware of condone ATV riding within their boundaries. Parks and hiking trails are meant for people who enjoy the peace and beauty of our natural resources. Could you imagine going on a hike in the Smoky Mountains only to have it interrupted by loud ATVs playing music so loud you could hear them from miles away?
I grew up playing, hiking, and hunting on this mountain and my great grandfather raised a family on the top of Pine Mountain. I believe that the Pine Mountain Trail is the best hiking trail our state has to offer. No other place in the state matches its beauty and ruggedness. I also believe that ATV riders need a place to enjoy their hobby.I believe that there are other places much more suitable for ATV riding. Knott County has a ATV park that utilizes miles of reclaimed mine land and believe this is an excellent example to follow.
Thank you for your time,
Ronnie Hylton

email correspondence

Thanks for your recent email in regard to SB 102. 
I understand your opposition. As someone who helped create Pine Mountain trail system, I am a huge supporter of the trails and am not trying to detract from the beauty of our region. The reason I filed this bill was to bring attention to the fact that people are currently driving ATV's in our parks and it needs to be policed. In addition, I believe we need some type of trail system in Eastern Kentucky that will allow people to enjoy their ATV's. I just want to bring attention to the needs of Eastern Kentucky.

As always, I appreciate the input of my constituents and am always glad to hear from you. Thanks for writing and I look forward to working with you on this as well as other issues that may come before the Kentucky General Assembly.

Senator Ray Jones
Considering that Senator Jones legislation and recent ATV excursion on Breaks Park properties and the Pine Mountain Trail was to publicly bring attention to the lack of policing of illegal ATV use, we can only marvel at the Senator's novel yet effective way of addressing an intractable problem that was seemingly unsolvable on the north end of the PMT and in the Breaks Park. We look forward to working with the Senator for creative solutions to this and other problems in the years ahead.